Private doctors’ fees to go up

July 27, 2012

MALAYSIA – Private doctors’ fees are expected to increase by up to 14% once the proposed changes to the fee schedule is approved by the cabinet, according to the Health Ministry.

Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the study into the doctors’ fee schedule is almost complete and is expected to be presented to the cabinet before year-end.

“All that is left is dentistry (fees). When it is completed, it will be sent to the cabinet for support to revise private doctors’ fees in the country,” he said.

The raise is to give doctors and specialists a competitive fee structure, as the fees of Malaysian doctors in the private sector have remained low due to government regulation.

“Compared to other countries in the world, the fees our doctors are getting are far lower,” he added.

Last year, Liow had said a study was being conducted to revise the fee schedule of doctors in private hospitals and clinics, as well as specialists.

However, when questioned today on the increase in private healthcare costs, Liow said the main complaint by the public was not on doctors’ fees, but on pricey hospital charges.

“We are discussing with private hospitals and stakeholders to resolve this, especially when there are complaints of exorbitant charges,” Liow said after launching the new ANOC Neuroscience and Orthopaedic Centre in Bangsar.

Currently, doctors fees in private healthcare facilities are regulated under Schedule 13 of the Regulations of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act.

News of the possible 14% raise in fees was greeted with disappointment by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) which had expected a higher increase.

“The figure of 14% is below what we expected, especially when taking into account the cumulative general inflation of 18.9% as of 2010,” said MMA president Dr S. R. Manalan.

He told theSun that the fee schedule was to have been revised in 2008 with a proposed 15-25% increase, but the health ministry had rejected it due to the unstable economic situation then.

“It must be kept in mind that the fee schedule is derived from the MMA fee schedule in 2002. This means that doctors’ fees have not been raised for more than 10 years,” he complained.

He also said the MMA had rejected the 14% figure offered by the ministry in December last year due to the latter’s flawed calculation of inflation rates.

He added that grouses from the public is largely from exorbitant hospital charges, medical insurance premiums and the fees controlled by managed care organisations and third-party administrators, and not from doctors’ fees.

When contacted, Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) CEO Datuk Paul Selvaraj expressed his apprehension on the increase in fees.

“The ministry needs to look at the 14% figure again. There are already so many complaints of high prices (of private healthcare).

“While the ministry justifies this (high prices) by saying it’s the hospital charges which are high, they still must reconsider whether it is a reasonable increase to be borne by consumers,” he said.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia honorary secretary Dr T. Mahadevan told theSun the association is open to meeting with the ministry to discuss hospital charges.

“However, there are a few market-driven factors which must be considered by the ministry, such as the types of services offered by a private hospital, the location of the hospital and the quality of services,” he said, adding that hospitals in the Klang Valley would have to charge higher than a hospital in Seberang Jaya, for example.

Source: Malaysia Chronicle

Category: Community

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.